This peanut butter brownie recipe is next level! Each square is full of chocolate flavor with a fudgy texture and has swirls of creamy peanut butter across the crackly top. An easy brownie recipe like this is perfect for the next time a chocolate craving strikes!
The first time I made homemade fudgy brownies I knew that in the future the only time I would use a box mix was in case of an emergency! Since then I have whipped up caramel brownies and strawberry brownies! Needless to say, I’m addicted! So with the peanut butter lovers around here, I knew that this delicious dessert would be well received! The combination of peanut butter and chocolate reminds me a little bit of a peanut butter cup!
Peanut butter desserts are pretty popular around here, such as peanut butter cookies, chocolate peanut butter cheesecake, and chocolate dipped peanut butter Ritz. One of our favorites is the famous peanut butter chocolate layer cake! Be careful because that one is rich and oh-so addictive! We also make 2 ingredient peanut butter fudge which is an easy dessert recipe with minimal effort! For those who would rather drink their dessert, a great recipe go to is the peanut butter frozen hot chocolate, yum!
What do I Need for this Recipe?
- butter – we prefer using unsalted butter when making homemade brownies because we add salt and the peanut butter already contains salt as well.
- granulated sugar – we need sweetness and it also helps to keep the brownies soft.
- vanilla extract and salt – because you can’t bake without these!
- chocolate chips – semi-sweet work the best in this recipe because the batter is already sweet enough.
- eggs – allow time for the eggs to come to room temperature. This makes the batter mix easier and helps prevent overmixing.
- unsweetened cocoa powder – Dutch-processed is preferred because it’s neutral and reacts with the baking powder to get the lift! Plus, the flavor is smoother than natural cocoa, which can be bitter.
- baking powder – this is a leavening agent, so the texture of the brownies is fluffy and a little cakey.
- all-purpose flour – using a little less flour compared to other recipes keeps the brownies fudgy, and balances out the cakiness that the baking powder can add.
- peanut butter – we recommend using creamy (and you can use natural peanut butter if desired just stir it up first). It adds moistness, of course, peanut butter flavor, and we don’t want the grainy texture of the crunchy variety.
Sieve – we are going to sift some of the dry ingredients to keep the batter nice and smooth.
Variations and Substitutions:
- Nutty – if desired, fold in some walnuts before transferring the batter to the baking dish.
- Drier – Covering the brownies with aluminum foil during the last 10 minutes of baking allows for a creamy peanut butter swirl. If you would like it more set, cook the entire time without covering.
- Frosted instead of swirled – some prefer to use a layer of peanut butter frosting on top, versus swirling it in.
- Using a box mix – mix the brownies according to the instructions on the package. Then follow steps 5-7 below.
PREP: Grease a square baking pan, line it with parchment paper and preheat the over to 350 degrees. Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl in 30-second increments stirring between each cycle until smooth.
Step 1: Beat together the sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl using a stand mixer or an electric mixer. Stir in the vanilla and chocolate and mix well.
Step 2: Use a mixer to beat the large eggs into the butter mixture.
Pro Tip: If you want to reduce the puffing and cracking, instead of using a mixer, whisk the eggs in by hand.
Step 3: Sift the dry ingredients through a sieve into the wet ingredients.
Step 4: Mix the batter with a rubber spatula.
Step 5: Spread the batter into the prepared pan in an even layer. Microwave the peanut butter for 15 seconds so it’s smooth and pourable.
Step 6: Spoon the warm peanut butter on top of the brownie batter. Use a butter knife to swirl it into the batter.
Step 7: Bake until the moist crumbs cling to a toothpick (about 35-40 minutes). Remove from the oven and cool completely. Lift the brownies from the pan by the edges of the parchment paper. Use a sharp knife to slice into squares.
SERVE: If desired, dust with a little powdered sugar or serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream to accompany the best peanut butter brownies recipe you have ever tasted!
- The melted butter dissolves some of the crystals from the sugar when mixed, which creates the crackle effect on top.
- We prefer to mix in the eggs by hand to reduce the amount of air in the batter. Excessive air causes more puffing, leading to higher edges and cracking at the center.
- For best results, use high-quality chocolate since it really shines in these brownies.
The main difference between brownies and cakes is that cakes have more flour!
Once the fudgy peanut butter brownies have cooled completely, wrap them in several layers of plastic wrap and store them in a freezer bag. They can be frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw them in the refrigerator or at room temperature.
If you don’t want to freeze them, keep the leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the fridge or on the countertop.
Be sure to measure all of the ingredients accurately, do not overmix the batter, and be careful to not overbake them.
Peanut Butter Brownies
- ½ cup unsalted butter melted
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips melted and cooled slightly
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup creamy peanut butter
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8×8” glass baking dish, line it with parchment paper, and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugar until combined. Add in vanilla extract and melted chocolate. Beat until well mixed.
- Add in the eggs and beat just until combined.
- Sift the dry ingredients through a sieve into the brownie batter: cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and flour.
- Use a spatula to mix the dry ingredients into the brownie batter until combined.
- Spread the brownie batter into the prepared baking dish.
- Microwave the peanut butter for about 15 seconds so that it is smooth and a pourable consistency. Spoon dollops of the peanut butter over the brownie batter.
- Use a knife to swirl the peanut butter into the batter
- Bake for 35-40 minutes, until fudgy crumbs cling to a toothpick/knife when stuck in the center of the brownies, but there is no wet batter. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
- Lift the brownies from the pan by the parchment paper and cut into squares.
Store on the countertop or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days (in an airtight container). Freeze for up to 1 month. Notes: The melted butter dissolves some of the sugar crystals when mixed – this helps to make a nice crackle across the top and a chewy edge on the brownies. Cover the brownies with aluminum foil during the last 10 minutes of baking to keep the peanut butter creamy. Alternately, if you’d like the peanut butter more dried out and the top of the brownies a bit darker, you can leave them uncovered for the full cook time. This is a fudgy, rich brownie. The combination of cocoa powder and melted, cooled chocolate gives the brownies that rich, fudgy texture and flavor. Beating the eggs with a hand mixer will add extra air to the batter – this causes the brownie to puff more during baking and can lead to high edges and cracking where the center settles. This will happen a little bit anyway, but you can reduce the puffing by mixing the batter by hand once you’ve added the eggs. To melt the chocolate chips, microwave in 30-second increments, stirring between each interval. Chocolate chips are readily available, but you can use your favorite dark chocolate bar or any chocolate you like.